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Theopolitics of Health Care

Theopolitics of Health Care

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Published by Lyle Brecht
Why health reform for the U.S. now?

"Rising healthcare costs are killing wage increases. From 1980 to 2007 the average cash income for the vast majority of Americans (the bottom 90 percent) increased only $2,697, to $33,321. Healthcare spending per household rose more than three times as much, increasing $8,797, to $15,369, according to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. Household healthcare spending now equals almost half of the average income of the vast majority of Americans."

This is not the case in any other advanced industrialized democracies in the world today.

(See http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090921/johnston)
Why health reform for the U.S. now?

"Rising healthcare costs are killing wage increases. From 1980 to 2007 the average cash income for the vast majority of Americans (the bottom 90 percent) increased only $2,697, to $33,321. Healthcare spending per household rose more than three times as much, increasing $8,797, to $15,369, according to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. Household healthcare spending now equals almost half of the average income of the vast majority of Americans."

This is not the case in any other advanced industrialized democracies in the world today.

(See http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090921/johnston)

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Published by: Lyle Brecht on Jun 16, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/03/2013

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 June 21, 2009 DRAFT 2.9 Assembled By Lyle Brecht
Theopolitics of Health Care
in America
1
Today, in America, there are two forcing functions driving an immediate need for reform of the U.S. health caresystem:(1) the large number of uninsured. This is a national security issue. Today, millions of citizens do not haveaccess to primary care. In the advent of a pandemic, this situation could prove catastrophic. Also, having thismany people neglecting basic care requirements may cost the economy as much as $1,000 billion annually inlost productivity.(2) the U.S. system of health care is expensive and does not produce the best health care results. The highcosts drain needed capital from other areas of the economy to create jobs, invest in new technology, addressclimate change, solve environmental degradation problems, educate our children, invest in publictransportation options, etc. as most other developed countries are doing today.National security threats are: “actions that can degrade the quality of life for the inhabitants of a state orsignificantly narrow the range of policy options available to the government or private citizens of a state” -Richard Ullman, Redefining Security (1983). U.S. National Security Strategy (2006): "Public health challengeslike pandemics (HIV/AIDS, avian influenza) ... recognize no borders. The risks to social order are so great thattraditional public health approaches may be inadequate, necessitating new strategies and responses.”
 
2
Pandemics
“Each year 300 million cases of malaria kill two million people. An estimated 3% of the world
ʼ
s population - 170million people - is chronically infected with hepatitis C virus. About four million people are newly infected eachyear, 80% of whom will progress to a chronic infection associated with cirrhosis in about 20% and liver cancerin about 5%. One third of the world is infected with the bacterium that causes tuberculosis with 10 millioncases every year accounting for two million deaths.“Approximately 40 million people worldwide are infected with HIV, which killed 3.9 million people in 2005. InRussia, Vladimir Putin just recommended financial incentives to citizens to increase fertility because the deathrate outstrips the birth rate. While cardiovascular deaths lead the list, the incidence of HIV/AIDS andtuberculosis are on the rise. In recognition of this demographic nightmare, Russia will make the prevention andcontrol of infectious diseases one of the priorities of the upcoming G8 summit in St. Petersburg.“Some lethal pandemics are still not as well known to the general public. For example, an ongoing cholerapandemic started in Indonesia in 1961 is causing close to 120,000 deaths per year.”Harvey Rubin, M.D, Ph.D., is Director, University of Pennsylvania Institute for Strategic Threat Analysis andResponse (ISTAR), and a Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Computer Science, “A New, GlobalApproach to Pandemics and National Security” (May 30, 2006).
 
The World Health Organization's rankingof the world's health systems (2000)
3
1 France2 Italy 3 San Marino4 Andorra5 Malta6 Singapore7 Spain8 Oman9 Austria10 Japan11 Norway 12 Portugal13 Monaco14 Greece15 Iceland16 Luxembourg17 Netherlands18 United Kingdom19 Ireland20 Switzerland21 Belgium22 Colombia23 Sweden24 Cyprus25 Germany 26 Saudi Arabia27 United Arab Emirates28 Israel29 Morocco30 Canada31 Finland32 Australia33 Chile34 Denmark35 Dominica36 Costa Rica
37 U. S.
38 Slovenia39 Cuba40 Brunei41 New Zealand42 Bahrain43 Croatia44 Qatar45 Kuwait46 Barbados47 Thailand48 Czech Republic49 Malaysia50 Poland
The World Health Organization has carried out the first ever analysis of the world
ʼ
s health systems. Using fiveperformance indicators to measure health systems in 191 member states, it finds that France provides the bestoverall health care followed among major countries by Italy, Spain, Oman, Austria and Japan.The U. S. health system spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product than any other country butranks 37 out of 191 countries according to its performance, the report finds. The United Kingdom, whichspends just six percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on health services, ranks 18th . Several smallcountries – San Marino, Andorra, Malta and Singapore are rated close behind second- placed Italy.WHO
ʼ
s assessment system was based on five indicators: overall level of population health; health inequalities(or disparities) within the population; overall level of health system responsiveness (a combination of patientsatisfaction and how well the system acts); distribution of responsiveness within the population (how wellpeople of varying economic status find that they are served by the health system); and the distribution of thehealth system
ʼ
s financial burden within the population (who pays the costs)."In many countries without a health insurance safety net, many families have to pay more than 100 percent oftheir income for health care when hit with sudden emergencies. In other words, illness forces them into debt."

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